The owner of the 12 Cats Lady Instagram account happily describes herself as a “full-time cat mom.” She’s not joking. Living out in Japan, she cares for “12 spoiled indoor chinchilla Persians,” which obviously takes up a huge chunk of her time.
Let’s get the scoop on this oversized collection of fancy kitties.
First up, let’s deal with the big question: How exactly do you end up living with a dozen cats?
According to Michelle, their human caregiver, “It started when we met our first cat, Yuki, on December 30, 2010. We took her home after rescuing her in the middle of the road where we found her dirty and freezing. After a while we decided to adopt one more and looked for the same breed on an adoption site — but we actually saw two chinchilla Persians and couldn’t decide between them, so we adopted them both.”
As for the other nine cats?
“Those are their kittens!”
If you want a full and formal roll call of all 12 cat names, you’re in luck. They are: Yuki, Momo, Shou, Yuri, Bruce, Blackie, Kaya, Karu, Ai, James, Tiger, and Goodie.
I did attempt to fathom out which cat is which from their Instagram pics, but sensibly gave up.
How do other people react when they find out about Michelle’s epic collection of cats?
“Many say it’s cute to have 12 fur babies and it’s cool,” she says, “although some think it’s creepy and weird and that I’m crazy. But I’m happy, so it doesn’t really matter what other people think about me having this many cats.”
I asked Michelle what attracted her to the chinchilla Persian in the first place, and she told me simply: “They are very quiet and very sweet.”
I suspect a cat who is not prone to constantly meowing and yapping all day is a big virtue when you’re living with a dozen of them.
When it comes to the day-to-day care of 12 kitties, I’d have imagined that dealing with litter box duty would be the most grueling activity. According to Michelle, that’s not entirely the case: Brushing the cats and cleaning their eyes takes priority. “It’s very hard to keep their eyes clean,” she laments.
As anyone who’s attempted to provide for more than one feline knows, they don’t always have compatible eating habits. Michelle deals with her hungry troops by always feeding them all together at the same time to avoid any food fights.
“I know who eats a lot so I put more in their bowl so I can avoid them stealing another cat’s food,” she says sagely.
One of the greatest things about the 12 Cats Lady Instagram account is the number of pictures where every single cat is smartly lined up and looking directly at the camera for a photo.
How does Michelle pull off this great feat of art and organization?
“I wave their favorite feather toy to get their attention and call the names of those who don’t look,” she reveals. “That gives me the chance to get photos of them all looking at me.”
Let the official record show that there are currently no plans to introduce any more cats to the clan. As Michelle says, “They are all spayed and neutered now so there’s no chance of having kittens from them again — and it’s hard to introduce a new cat to 12 spoiled furballs.”